Monday, 25 September 2017

Dodging Hurricane Jose, Ducking Under Bridges

At The NYAC Yacht Club - What Hurricane ? Who Is This Jose ?
Hurricane Jose wimped out on Long Island Sound, very fortunately for us. Planning for the worst, we headed for Pelham in New York. With the help of OCC Port Officer Thomas Delaney, we arranged a berth on the pontoons in the pond at the New York Athletic Club Yacht Club. There, in the best hurricane hole north of New York City, we rode out the barely 15 knot winds that Jose finally rent down upon us. It was a fortunate anti-climax.

Determined to head south quickly, chasing warmth and sunshine, we planned a passage off-shore from New York to the Delaware River, just as soon as Hurricane Jose had passed by. To access the ocean we needed to travel down the East River of Manhattan, only then we discovered it was closed for security reasons during the United Nations General Assembly session last week. What next ?

East River Bridge Down - What Next ?
Up It Goes And Under Go We
Calls to the Coast Guard revealed that the eastern channel would be open for us, though it was blocked by a low level lifting bridge.  More calls to the bridge operators, and they said they would lift for us when we arrived, so long as the Coast Guard approved. So I called the Coast Guard again, who promised to call the bridge operators etc etc etc. And so it goes.

We steamed down the East River, running with the tide through Hells Gate at over 11 knots, then abruptly had to stop before the lowered bridge span.

Of course you can't easily stop when the river is running at over 4 knots, so we did the obligatory U-turn and pushed backwards against the current for 5 minutes or so until they managed to open the bridge (a rare event it turns out).

With the old span lifted we rushed ahead, the top of our mast a good 40 feet below the steel. From there we accelerated south passing the flotilla of US Coast Guard boats guarding the UN building from possible East River attacks.

Onward, past the financial district and Wall Street, then across the Hudson River to the Statue Of Liberty, and behind her amazing figure into the tiny and protected Liberty Park anchorage. Less than half a meter of water under us as we navigated the approach channel, and not much more depth inside. We squeezed in among four other cruising boats and settled down, planning our offshore passage the next day. Having slept well, at dawn we said goodbye to Lady Liberty and headed for the ocean once more.

Farewell New York

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